That Looks Like Variety’s Dinner They’re Eating

LA Times entertainment reporter, Patrick Goldstein, is on a story that sheds light on one of my favorite topics–the lingering sense of entitlement in managers of businesses being forever altered by the Web.

My sources at a number of different studios say that Variety Editor Tim Gray and various entertainment reporters at the trade have been telling publicity execs that if they give casting scoops to any of Variety’s online competition, the paper won’t run their big announcement stories in print, relegating them to online posts only. When I spoke to Gray, he acknowledged the new policy, saying: “We simply said that if you give any of these show business websites the story first, then we’ll put the story on the Web — for the record — but we won’t put it in the print edition.”
I had assumed that the new policy was directed at Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood, because the Web’s hot-headed gossip queen had hired away top Variety reporter Mike Fleming and has regularly trashed the trade’s too-little, too-late coverage, frequently boasting about how often she beats Variety to scoops. But Gray insists the directive applies to “any” site that reports showbiz news, which presumably includes The Wrap, Vulture or the host of film-related blogs at my own paper.

Unbelievable. Goldstein goes on to say most studio publicists probably haven’t seen a print edition of Variety in years, given their penchant for instant updates on their Crackberries.
According to The Times of London, “the internet is one vast free market.” Truer words have rarely graced the screen. If Variety wants to break entertainment news it better stop bitching and get busy.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.